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Online Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education: Elementary Education and Special Education (MS & SPED/MM)

Elementary school kids and teacher sit on floor

The online B.A. Early Childhood Education (ECE): Elementary Education and Special Education program is designed to equip graduates with the skills and teaching methodology needed to create and implement optimal learning environments for children.

131 Units needed for completion
Eligible for Credit for Learning from Experience Units
Qualifies candidates to teach special education or multiple subject K-12

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Online B.A. in ECE: Elementary Education and Special Education (MS & SPED/MM)

Pacific Oaks’ online B.A. Early Childhood Education: Elementary Education and Special Education bachelor’s degree program is ideal for adults looking for the flexibility of completing coursework when it is convenient for them.

Principles taught include strategies for facilitating and nurturing each child’s cognitive development, using diversity and inclusion to tailor learning experiences to the cultural needs of all children. The online B.A. ECE special education and elementary degree program requires three units of fieldwork including observation in early childhood setting, and 600 hours of supervised practicum experience

This bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education qualifies graduates to teach both general education students in a variety of subjects as well as students with mild or moderate disabilities in grades K-12.

Please note: Students enrolled in our online California teacher credential preparation program MUST complete all observation, fieldwork, and student teaching hours in California classrooms. There are no exceptions.

Other Online B.A. Early Childhood Education Specializations & Credentials


  • The California Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential qualifies candidates to teach in preschool, K-12 or in classes organized primarily for adults in self-contained classrooms.
  • The online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education program provides coursework, fieldwork, and practicum experience required for various child development permits in the State of California and prepares graduates to teach in a variety of preschool settings.
  • The California Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential (Mild to Moderate Disabilities) Preliminary Education Specialist credential qualifies candidates to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities in grades K-12 and in classes organized primarily for adults through age 22.

Credentials Office

For more information to assist you in your journey to obtain your California Preliminary Teaching Credential, visit the Credentials Office page.

Sample B.A. Early Childhood Education Courses

ED 305: Social, Political, and Economic Foundations of Education

ED 305 will provide the teacher candidate with the theory, philosophy, and examples of the social, political, and economic foundations of education. The emphasis will be on historical, legal and ethical, philosophical and political issues that will occur in both general education and special education settings. In addition, ED 305 explains the teacher certification process in California and will focus on broad educational issues of structures, policies, equity, and what it will mean to be a teacher in a public school. Specifically, candidates will investigate the following general and special education topics: federal, state, and local structures, governance and demographics, education finance, standardized testing, teacher associations, California laws, school reform trends, and professional development.

SPED 331: The Student with Special Needs

SPED 331 will provide candidates with a comprehensive understanding of the atypical human development conditions associated with various disabilities and risk conditions. The Special Education course will explore the impact of various disabilities on development and learning and how different cultural settings may impact both exceptional groups of learners and students with disabilities. An introduction into the process of understanding and developing Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) will also be discussed, explored, and applied including the role of a Case Manager. Furthermore, candidates will learn about principles of IDEA. To best serve children in public or private schools, teachers must learn to integrate constructivist approaches, standards-based instruction, and technology within a challenging and interesting curriculum.

Admission Requirements

  • Admission to the B.A. program is open to any person who meets entrance requirements as outlined below. Applicants will be judged on their overall ability to successfully complete an undergraduate degree program. Generally, a high school cumulative GPA of a 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission. However, applicants with a cumulative high school GPA below 2.0 will be considered for admission with the submission of additional required documents (see below). Applicants with college level studies will be expected to demonstrate an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. It is required that transcripts are submitted from all undergraduate schools where credit was received to support the application and request for transfer credit. (See Undergraduate Transfer Credit Policy).Factors and materials to be considered for admission will include:
    • Completed application and $55 application fee
    • Interview with a member of the Admissions Committee
    • Demonstrated commitment to the mission and values of Pacific Oaks College
    • Personal statement
    • Applicants must submit a resume showing three or more years of significant professional or life experience or an official transcript confirming 24 transferrable units from a regionally accredited

    Applicants must provide proof of the qualifying conferral of high school graduation (or the equivalent) or proof of successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester units at a regionally accredited post-secondary institution. Proof of qualifying academic history must be provided in one of the following ways:

    • Official high school transcript recognized by the S. Department of Education showing an earned high school diploma, 2.0 GPA or higher, and date of graduation. A copy of a high school diploma, if transcripts are not immediately available, can be submitted with a contingency that original transcripts will be on file prior to day 5 of the term/semester of entry. Financial aid will not be disbursed until the compliant documentation is received.
    • Official college transcript with 24 credits of transferable units with a grade of C or
    • Official Associate degree transcript from a regionally­ accredited institution showing degree earned and date conferred
    • Official college transcript from a regionally-accredited institution that contains the high school name and date of graduation
    • Official NACES, ACREVS or AICE evaluation of an international diploma that contains the high school name and date of graduation
    • High school equivalency completed through home schooling as defined by state law
    • Official General Educational Development (GED) A copy of the student’s GED Certificate, or unofficial GED score issued by the state, can be submitted with a contingency that the Official GED document will be on file prior to day 5 of the term/semester of entry. Financial aid will not be disbursed until the compliant documentation is received.
    • Official Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) document
    • Official High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) document
    • Official documentation showing a passing score on a state-authorized exam that the state recognizes as equivalent to high school graduation

    Applicants with a cumulative high school or undergraduate GPA below 2.0, applicants without three years of significant professional or life experience, or with less than 24 transferrable college units are required to submit additional documentation:

    • One letter of support from someone (a non-relative) familiar with your ability to be successful in this program
    • An additional essay three pages, double spaced typed (approximately 500-750 words). In your essay, please answer the following question:
      • What life and professional experience do you possess that would enable you to be successful in the Pacific Oaks classroom focused on application of experience to course
      • Why it is important to you to study this discipline at a school that emphasizes social justice, cultural humility and respect for every individual (refer to the Mission and Vision statement of Pacific Oaks College).


    Additional Requirements for students interested in pursuing Elementary Education and/or Special Education concentrations:

    For students entering with 40 or more transfer units at the time of admission:

    • Successfully complete CBEST (California Basic Education Skills Test) or meet the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR)
    • Proof of Registration for the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers): Multiple Subjects exams

    For students entering with fewer than 40 transfer units at the time of admission:

    Progression to a Credential Program Requirement:

    Students who wish to pursue the BA Early Childhood Education degree with the Elementary Education and/or Special Education concentration must pass the CBEST or meet the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR) by the conclusion of 40 GE units in order to progress into a credential track program.  Students who pass the CBEST or meet the Basic Skills Requirement, must also show verification of registration for the CSET exams. For more information on Teacher Credentialing, please see the Credentials Office page under the Resource section of the POC website.

    If a student does not pass the CBEST or meet the BSR by the conclusion of the 40 GE units, they may progress in the BA ECE degree program and attempt the CBEST or BSR until they have successfully passed. At the time a student has successfully passed the CBEST or BSR, they may request a program transfer by completing the Program Transfer form found on the Registrar’s Office webpage.

    Passing CBEST or meeting the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR) is the first step into a credential track program.  In order to progress through a credential program and earn a California teaching credential, students will need to meet additional exam and CCTC requirements beyond successful completion of coursework.


    Please note: Prior coursework will be evaluated as part of the Admissions process.

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